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May 4, 2016, 3:47 PM


This year Pentecost comes in the month of May. The date varies from year to year, being based on the Hebrew lunar calendar. “Pentecost” means “Fiftieth” and refers to the 50th day after the giving of the law of Moses in the Old Testament. For Christians, Pentecost always falls 50 days after Easter.

Pentecost has great significance for Christianity. As described in the 2nd chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Pentecost is the “birthday of the church”. Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, his closest disciples and family experienced life-transforming encounters with the risen Christ that prepared them to proclaim the good news to the world. Here is the account of what happened:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken….

….Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

This is the month of Pentecost, the birthday of our life together as Disciples of Christ. Happy Birthday, Everyone!

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